With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on. -- William Morris

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sons of God

Lectio: Mt 2:13-18

Jesus' flight into Egypt is not simply to escape Herod, but more importantly to re-perform the action of Israel in the drama of salvation history. Israel was understood as God's son prior to the coming of the Messiah, adopted by God in the election of a nation (cf. Jer 11:4, 30:22; Ez 36:28). Here is an imperfect, adopted son: born always of the flesh of Adam and forever in a cycle of failure in the ways of righteousness and fidelity to YHWH. Jesus, however, marks the turning point at which the Father reveals to His adopted/elected son what true sonship is. By this Son, born into the line of Abraham and David but most importantly conceived by the Holy Spirit and not by any man; by this Son God renews His people to holiness: a holiness that can only be dwelling perfectly with Him (in love). The true Son of the Father, begotten by Him eternally and more intimately "son" from before the adoption (or creation) of Israel. This true Son fulfills the promises of the adopted son, and reveals that salvation and holiness (to which Israel is called) consist in being bron from above: sharing in this deeper divine sonship, and thereby perfecting God's covenant with his chosen people. Not only does Jesus reveal this, but He wins it for us. He offers it!

As the fulfillment of sonship, Jesus is born of the flesh of Israel. He takes the place of the adopted son, the elected people, embedded in their lot: one of their own. And He seeks to raise this son to "adoption" of another kind. He, as Matthew shows, must walk the very path of the "first" son. The evangelist provides countless signs in order that one may identify Jesus (the true Son) with the people Israel (the "first" son), and thereby see Him as the fulfillment of Israel's vocation to sonship. Again: the flight into Egypt. Jesus escapes the massacre as Moses did, identifying Jesus as the new Moses (cf. Ex 1:16-22; Jer 31:15; here Matthew links Jesus narrative not only with Moses but with tears of Rachel for exiled children of the northern kingdom during the Assyrian invasion). Joseph: both sons (Israel and Jesus) enter Egypt through Joseph. Thus, out of Egypt God has called both His adopted son and His true Son (Hos 11:1). Jesus relives the Exodus and fulfills it: He deepens the meaning of the Exodus because his relationship with the Father deepens that of Israel. He is uniquely God's Son by virtue of His divine conception. Thus, the drama of salvation history is appropriated and lived more really by Jesus Christ; and He is the one with the power to bring it to its completion.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam


  • At 8/10/2007 7:21 PM, Blogger Henry Karlson said…

    A nice reflection, and it explains even more how he is a "prophet like unto Moses" and the connection between manna and the eucharist; or Jesus and the water of life as relates to Moses and the water produced from the rock.

    As a side note, the places Jesus went in Egypt, according to tradition, relate to Moses' journey (such as going to where Moses was found in the Nile).


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